Seven Periods with Mr. Gormsby is an unrepentant politically incorrect, roller-coaster romp about an extraordinarily eccentric secondary-school teacher, who the Education Review Office in their last assessment described as follows: "Mr Gormsby is an out-dated, reactionary, racist, sexist teacher completely out of touch with educational theory in the second millennium. He defies the curriculum in every subject and is a disgrace to the profession. He should have no place in any state or private school. We will close Tepapawai Boys High and appoint a commissioner if Mr Gormsby is not replaced forthwith."
Te Papapawai Boys High School prospectus for 2005 begins: Kia ora, Kia orana, Talofa lava, Malo e lelei, Bula. Welcome to Tepapawai Boys' High School. We are a thriving and vibrant secondary school set in the heart of beautiful Tepapawai. Our highly qualified and dedicated teachers are committed to delivering the best possible education to boys in the Tepapawai Community. Their commitment to excellence is complemented by our top-class state-of-the-art facilities.
It's a blatant lie, but you can hardly blame the authors when the truth is that Tepapawai is a tatty school set in a dreary suburb where cheap housing sits alongside squalid light industry. If you had a choice you wouldn't really want to educate your kids here. There would be more white flight, yellow flight, and brown flight to better schools if parents could be bothered, but there is something enervating in the air, which - despite being close to sea -manages to smell of wet linoleum and petrochemicals. Tepapawai is a Decile 2 school. It has one of the highest staff turnovers in the country and since their last damning ERO Report the hapless Principal, Roger Dasent, can't find enough relieving teachers, certainly no teacher in the school wants to be put in charge of the out of control, law unto themselves boys in 5F.
In desperation Dasent places ads on the Internet and ads in education gazettes in places as varied as Bangladesh and Chernobyl and still gets no takers - and he has to reach for the folder at the bottom of his filing cabinet and make a phone call to the one person he had hoped he would never have to speak to again... Mr Gormsby!